Your construction resume is all that stands between you and your ideal job—you’ll never even get to meet the hiring manager if your resume doesn’t get you in the door.
A well-crafted resume should be able to make it past the most discerning hiring managers on their worst days. By preparing for the worst, you could save your resume from hitting the shredder for some superficial reason.
Your resume has to stand out without being flashy. Spelling and grammar mistakes on your construction resume will send the message that you lack attention to detail. Make sure you go over your resume numerous times. It wouldn’t hurt to also have someone else proofread it. Lastly, it should get to the point about your skills and attributes.
While we’ll leave it to a career counsellor to discuss the finer points of serif and sans serif font selections, we’ll discuss five great skills to include on your resume that will help you get your dream job.
1. Construction Management Skills
The role of a construction manager melds together two diverse skill sets: knowledge of the trades you manage and the management skills to bring workforces together to get the job done. While not all construction workers need management skills, they certainly open doors for advancement.
The ability to learn and use software, organizational and planning prowess, diplomacy and interpersonal wisdom are crucial in construction management and are tougher to teach than hard skills.
Shane Hedmond, construction project manager and editor-in-chief of constructionjunkie.com, says you cannot do without excellent oral and written communication skills in some of the key aspects of the project manager’s role on a construction job. Weekly meetings with owners and subcontractors require project managers to understand goals and challenges from each stakeholder’s perspective and the ability to communicate changes to the project clearly and concisely. He says “managing expectations” upfront is crucial so everyone has trust in the team and knows that when a challenge arises, the team will handle it.
Although management skills are hard to quantify, be as specific as possible when writing them on your resume. Instead of saying that you’re “very organized,” try to name a specific case in which you successfully used or implemented an organizational system. You could say you introduced labour management software that kept jobs on schedule and reduced required worker hours by 8%, for example.
2. Administrative skills
While typing speed tests won’t likely be required for construction professionals’ recruitment processes, administrative skills are still as important as ever. Skills like budgeting, math, software use and data input, and scheduling all come very much into play on a construction job. Don’t downplay your stellar phone skills—not everybody has them.
Talk about your skills in terms of real-world situations whenever you can. Instead of noting your competency in basic math, describe your role in keeping past budgets on target. Construction jobs often work with tight margins, so explaining a time you brought in a project under budget—or even just that you consistently work within financial constraints—is likely to excite the C-suite crowd.
3. Regulations awareness
Following the rules on a construction site is no joke. Your position in the company may require understanding building codes, safety regulations, environmental rules, and OHSA safety requirements. Demonstrating thorough knowledge of the rules and a willingness to abide by them can help you stand out in a crowd of applicants.
Any special training or certification, or recognition you’ve earned thanks to your compliance with rules and regulations, are details to be included in a resume. You should also mention membership on a safety committee or task force. Be sure to be specific with any results achieved from your courses or memberships. For instance, it’s impactful to say, “as part of a 15-person safety committee, created a near-miss safety report that helped bring reporting from 66 to 157 in a single year.”
4. Hard skills
Of course, construction is about building things. Depending on the role you’re hoping to play on a construction team, you may need deep knowledge of a specific skill or a broad knowledge of how different trades do their jobs.
Present these skills relating to the job you’re interested in acquiring. For instance, an application for a construction labour job to work on a new hotel might mention multiple years’ experience installing piping for gas, pneumatic, and air handling systems.
5. Planning and design
Reading blueprints is a fundamental skill in construction. Blueprints often contain more than just crucial information about project specs and dimensions but also instructions on materials to be used and installation techniques.
With so much information packed into a single document, you must convey your ability to read blueprints on your resume.
You may have already noticed an underlying theme when conveying information on your resume: Use hard data or clear examples to show the hiring manager what you can do. Don’t say you’re great at scheduling. Say you’ve got a 90% on-time project delivery rate. Don’t say you’ve helped employers improve safety ratings; say your fillable digital reporting facilitated a 60% higher reporting rate and allowed analysis of that data.
By including these important skill sets on your resume and clearly demonstrating how they’ve impacted your workplaces to date, you may have a better chance of attracting that hiring manager’s attention and landing an interview.